# Burn rate: Burn Rate Formula + Calculator

However, one factor that needs to be controlled is the variability in revenue. A fall in revenue with no change in costs can lead to a higher burn rate. It’s often expressed in dollars per month, though it can be expressed in any timeframe. The burn rate is an important calculation for startup businesses because it tells them how much time they have before they must become profitable. The Burn Rate measures the rate upon which a company spends its cash (i.e., how quickly a company is spending, or “burning,” its cash).

For example, Cool Horses Inc decide to calculate their net burn rate for the first 6 months of the year. Burn Rate is a term used on the PMP Exam and is largely in Agile environments, as an indicator of how well a project is, or is not, staying within the project budget. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. Here, the monthly net burn is a straightforward link to the net cash inflow / (outflow) cell. Company X is reviewing the burn rate for early April, the first quarter of the year.

## Burn Rate

A company’s net burn rate, however, is the total amount of money that a company loses each month. A company can reduce its gross burn rate by producing revenue and/or cutting costs, such as reducing staff or seeking cheaper means of production. “Angel investors and Venture Capital funds are very comfortable with the idea of a big cash burn,” says Brading. For a revenue-generating company, it may not be as easy to determine how to reduce expenses and improve burn rate.

Read on to learn how to calculate burn rate, burn rate benchmarks, and more. “Burn Rate PMP” is a term you will encounter as you study for Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam. If you are preparing to take the PMP exam, you should understand how this formula is used as a tool to help with executing and reporting on a project. You should also understand this formula helps report to stakeholders and keep tabs on how a sprint is progressing. Note that we are assuming that this is the cash balance as of the beginning of the period.

Burn rate is a measurement of how fast your business is spending (or burning through) cash. It’s an important metric for all companies, but particularly for startups which are more likely to be operating at a loss in their first years of growth. While burn rate is an important metric for startups to track, it shouldn’t be the only metric you are tracking when it comes to your business’ financial health. You should look at burn rate as it relates to cash runway, CAC, churn, and overall financial projections.

## Importance of Tracking Burn Rate PMP

While it is not a formula you are guaranteed to see on the PMP exam, it is still a metric you should be familiar with, especially if you work on agile teams. Here, the burn rate is equal to 1 which means the project budget is being expended in accordance with what was originally planned. Keeping track of the burn rate will ensure it stays in line throughout the project timeline. Here are some examples to highlight the burn rate formula and how to complete the burn rate calculation properly.

However, forecasts in growth and economies of scale encourage investors to further fund these companies in hopes of achieving future profitability. By tracking the metric, a management team can quantify the number of months they have left to either turn cash flow positive or raise additional equity or debt financing. In particular, the metric is closely tracked by early-stage start-ups that, in all likelihood, are operating at steep losses.

In the case of a startup company, it is the rate at which a new company is spending its venture capital to finance overhead before generating positive cash flow from operations. Burn Rate refers to the rate at which a company depletes its cash pool in a loss-generating scenario. It is a common metric of performance and valuation for companies, including start-ups. A start-up is often unable to generate a positive net income in its early stages as it is focused on growing its customer base and improving its product.

Where you are in your growth journey will affect your decision making when it comes to establishing a target burn rate. This content is presented “as is,” and is not intended to provide tax, legal or financial advice. This can include office costs (downsizing office spaces to reduce rent) and contractors (outsourcing work when possible), among others. As a result, the “Monthly Gross Burn” can just be linked to the “Total Monthly Cash Expenses”, ignoring the \$625k made in sales each month. For example, using the Airwallex payment gateway rather than competitors like PayPal and Stripe will make it cheaper to accept online payments from domestic and international customers. Reducing COGS (cost of goods sold) doesn’t have to mean compromising on product quality.

• Burn rate is also used in project management to determine the rate at which hours (allocated to a project) are being used, to identify when work is going out of scope, or when efficiencies are being lost.
• Burn rate is used to calculate cash runway—that’s the amount of time your business has left before it runs out of money.
• Conceptually, the gross burn is the total amount of cash spent each month, whereas the net burn is the difference between the monthly cash inflows and cash outflows.
• In other words, burn rate tells you how quickly your business “burns through” capital.

In the context of cash flow negative start-ups, the burn rate measures the pace at which a start-up’s equity funding is being spent. If your company is burning cash, then you are spending more money than you are taking in. Similarly, your company’s burn rate is how much money your business is spending per month (revenue-expenses). To measure the gross burn rate for the same period, divide quarterly expenses by three. Typically, burn rate calculates how quickly a company will go through its startup capital before becoming cash flow positive. However, all businesses—regardless of their stage in the business life cycle—can benefit from knowing their burn rates.

## PMP® Exam Formula Cheat Sheet

It also provides insight into a company’s cost drivers and efficiency, regardless of revenue. The calculated rates from above can be inserted into the following formula to estimate the implied cash runway, which, to reiterate, is the number of months a company has left until the cash balance drops to zero. They’ll compare the burn rate to the business plan to see if the business has a realistic chance of becoming profitable.

Your cash runway tells you how many months you have left before your company runs out of money. Once you’ve calculated your net burn, working out your cash runway is easy. In this article, we’ll explain how to calculate gross and net burn rate the right way.

• You may have noticed the burn rate formula is the opposite of the Cost Performance Index (CPI) formula which is EV/AC.
• Often, companies spend on marketing in order to achieve growth in their user base or product use.
• If you’ve heard the phrase “burning cash,” then you likely already understand what burn rate means.
• We’ll also show you how to work out your cash runway, and I’ll take a look at how successful startup founders manage burn rate in the early years of their business.
• Upon dividing the \$100,000 in cash by the \$5,000 net burn, the implied runway is 20 months.

Keeping track of your burn rate is important when managing projects as it is critical work performance information that should be communicated to key stakeholders. The above image is an e-Commerce financial model showing the company’s cash balance over time. In the 2nd scenario, the company has twice the number of months in cash runway because of the \$5,000 in cash inflows coming in each month. An important distinction is how the metric should account for only actual cash inflows/outflows and exclude any non-cash add-backs, i.e. a measurement of “real” cash flow. To sustain operations, the start-up must either become profitable or, more commonly, raise equity financing from outside investors before the cash on hand runs out.

A typical start-up will begin the process of raising additional funding from new or existing investors when the remaining cash runway has fallen to approximately 5 to 8 months. The implied cash runway comes out to 7 months, which means that assuming no cash sales going forward, the start-up could continue to operate for 7 months before needing to raise financing. Using the burn rate, the implied cash runway can be estimated – in other words, the number of months that a business can continue operating until it runs out of cash. The burn rate tells you how much cash the company is burning through, but it doesn’t address whether the burn rate is reasonable. It’s up to each analyst to carefully assess the business plan and determine whether the burn rate is justified or troubling.

Startups often take a few years to become profitable, so having a high net burn shouldn’t necessarily concern you. The result here indicates the burn rate is greater than one and so the project is over budget. Learn how to successfully use project management formulas after reading this cheat sheet. While an unsustainable rate over the long run can become a cause for concern to management and investors, it ultimately depends on the given company’s specific surrounding circumstances. Based on the two data points gathered (-\$1.5mm and -\$875k), we can estimate the implied cash runway for each.

This will help you capture expenses and other outlays of cash that don’t occur monthly. It will also help make sure your calculations aren’t skewed by an extraordinarily good (or bad) sales month. To avoid late payments, ensure you invoice on time and continue to remind customers when their payments are overdue. If you sell high-value products or services, it’s a good idea to check your customer’s credit score before you deliver to ensure they can afford to pay their bills. You can find all the information you need to measure burn rate on your cash flow statements.

The benefits of an Airwallex business account include free international and domestic money transfers, bank-beating FX rates, 0% domestic or international card fees, and cheaper online payment acceptance. If your business has plenty of cash in the bank that you’re afraid to use, investors may question your judgement and long term ambitions. An established business may want to limit spend and retain profit in order to pay out dividends to shareholders. Whilst a startup is likely to invest profits back into the business in order to stimulate growth.